0

Review: Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde

17375956

 

Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde (2013, Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.)

 

Marie doesn’t need a complication like Horse. The massive, tattooed, badass biker who shows up at her brother’s house one afternoon doesn’t agree. He wants Marie on his bike and in his bed. Now.

But Marie just left her abusive jerk of an ex-husband and she’s not looking for a new man. Especially one like Horse—she doesn’t know his real name or where he lives, she’s ninety percent certain he’s a criminal and that the “business” he talks with her brother isn’t website design. She needs him out of her life, which would be a snap if he’d just stop giving her mind-blowing orgasms.

Horse is part of the Reapers Motorcycle Club, and when he wants something, he takes it. What he wants is Marie, but she’s not interested in becoming “property of”.

Then her brother steals from the club. Marie can save him by giving Horse what he wants—at home, in public, on his bike… If she’s a very, very good girl, she’ll get lots more of those orgasms only he can offer, and he’ll let her brother live.
Maybe.

This was part of my attempt to shake up my book shelf and read something out of my normal choices.

I have to say, I think I’m an Big-Bad-Alpha-Male kinda romance reader. Heh heh.

I enjoyed this book a lot. There were some things that I wasn’t totally on board with but I was so invested in the characters, I worked through it.

What did I like?

Horse – Hung like. For sure. Heh heh. But he’s that badass alpha male I was talking about, and maybe I’m just aching to be thrown over the shoulder of a muscly biker, but there was something emotionally compelling about this character, as well as physically. I also really liked how he just said it how he saw it. Sometimes it meant that he said some really cringey things and I was like ‘did the author really write that?’ But it was fun!

Setting and Set Up – The scenario, as well as the simple settings, made this really easy to picture. I loved Horse’s house!

The Feels – And these were very grown-up feels! Ha ha. But I was on about with it. I think this book makes a good point about physical attraction, because often it makes no sense. I’m still not entirely sure I would have had all the same reactions as Marie, but once I got my head around her character, I found it easier to go along with.

Reapers MC – I love bikes. Used to have one. So there is something in this that I can truly relate to. Not the ‘club business’ stuff, but then, most of us have seen Sons of Anarchy right? So it’s easy to catch on. I liked the way the members worked together and enjoyed learning about the hierarchy.

What didn’t work for me?

Huh. Sometimes. Just sometimes, I was worried this was bordering on a rapey. Not full fledged rape! But despite Horse stressing that it was all her choice, it really wasn’t, and I wasn’t sure I was ok with it. That said, the author turns this all around by the end, but I really wanted to see more of an emotional struggle for Horse or something.

Marie – The woman has a lot of balls when she needs to use ‘em! But there were moment where, if it were me, I would have should my stiletto into his crotch. Mother trucker! I think I was waiting for her to really challenge him, like proper defy what he says in some spectacular fuck up of a move, but obviously still having an HEA. Maybe I expect too much from people xD

Reapers MC – As much as I like the ‘club business’, I also feel like it’s an excuse not to try. As in, rather than trying to live a normal life like the rest of us boring joes, they’ve made a life that suits them with moeny, guns, bikes and chicks that will do everything they say. It’s a caveman’s dream! And I don’t truly understand the point of it. Just man up and live in the real world! (Dear MC Members of the World, please don’t pop a cap in my ass. I don’t mean any offence! But if you want to come and explain it to me, I’ll happily listen and learn!!)

__

What I’ve learned about these kinds of books is that the emotion and the sexual tension between good characters kinda outweighs other factors that might not work in a book’s favour. It’s not gonna win the Man Booker prize, but shit, it had me enthralled! And I love me some of that sexy time!

(Really.. sometimes I don’t need to wonder why I have so little friends.. I recently put ‘erotica pool’ in a post, and now I’m opting for ‘that sexy time’? *le sigh* I’m doom-ed)

As an aside.. Has anyone ever considered the impracticality of being hung like a horse? :s

I’m giving this a 3.5 out 5. I was edging toward 4 stars, but as much fun I had reading this, I have to take into account the moments I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m looking forward to exploring the stories of other characters in the next books! :)

0

Review: Phenomenal X by Michelle A Valentine

18756982Phenomenal X by Michelle A. Valentine (Released April 2014)

“Good Girl. Notorious Bad-Boy. One Phenomenal Love.

From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and women lose their minds with desire.

Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.

One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.”

Honestly, the blurb does not do this book any favours. It coloured my view of the story before I even started reading it and I was wary of the heavy press of cliche and been there, done that.

But! I was pleasantly surprised by the actual read itself. It grabbed me! And I ended up reading this book in one sitting (and one very late night.. I need sleep! LOL)

FYI – This book was part of my ‘Shaking up my Bookshelf’ effort. This kind of book isn’t what I’d normally go for, so I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to the expectations or possible ‘rules’ when it comes to this genre.. if there are any! Oh heck, you know what I mean right?

Lemme just get on with it..

So, what did I like?

Phenomenal X – The man himself. Hell yes. He’s big, he’s bad and he has a freakin’ motorbike! I was so on board with this guy. And oh yeah, a badass wrestler? Now, I used to be quite the fan of wrestling, so I found it really easy to imagine all these big, badass mofos. I used to have a poster of The Rock on my bedroom wall.. *cough*

The emotion – I really admire how the author pitched the tone of this book. It had natural ups and downs, highs and lows of feeling and reaction and has those wonderfully ‘human’ moments where you want to shake the characters by the shoulders and say ‘don’t be stupid!’ – but that’s what we are most of the time.. stupid. Heh heh. I also got proper caught up in the excitement when Anna watches the wrestling from the side of the ramp! I felt like clapping! Ha!

The plot – Yeah. I was a little worried at first that it was gonna go down with the hot and sweaty and not much else, but I really enjoyed Anna’s story and also the glimpses into Xavier’s past. It was well balanced.

The writing – The narrative style was smooth (for the most part. See below) and it made it really easy to sink into the story and let it take me along for one heck of a ride!

What didn’t work for me?

Anna – Sometimes, only sometimes, she didn’t show quite enough grit for me. I like my women strong and feisty and where there are definitely glimmers of wit and punch from this girl, she’s not quite there yet. I hope she develops into a more confident and ‘spunky’ character in the next installment. Like her cousin Quinn! She’s so much fun!

Dialogue – This was a little awkward in places, a little clunky, and I was hoping the author would just let the characters relax into a more natural exchange of speech- and it does work really well for the most part, but there are a few places that jarred enough for me to notice. You know? Xavier had some of the best lines, but also some of the worst.. didn’t make me love him any less though.

__

This book was so much fun and I was surprised how easily the author’s writing had me emotionally invested in these characters. My only real issue was that it was so short! I felt like I could have read on and on and on and on… :)

An easy 4 out of 5. There were some small niggles with the dialogue and the characterisation at large, but that said, I can’t ignore how much I enjoyed reading this book, and so that’s why I have to give it a happy four stars. I cannot WAIT to read the next book!

 

 

0

On finishing the Shifter series by Rachel Vincent

793399

So I was going to cover these book separately, over a longer period of time, as and when I finished each installment.

However, I just checked my Goodreads, and I started Stray on 18th July..

I finished book #6, Alpha, today (26th July)

That’s right. I binge read this series. And I’m not ashamed to admit it!

What did I love about this series?

MC – Faythe was a GREAT protagonist. Sometimes she made me want to pull my hair out but most of the time I felt like she was very much a young woman that I could identify with. She wants a shot at a life of her choosing before settling into something more ‘parent approved’. The way she challenges her expected role within the pride and werecat society at large, was encouraging and heartening too. I get so frustrated when a female protagonist is happy to play the part of poor, defenceless flower. Equally, I admire how Faythe knows her limitations (most of the time!) and isn’t afraid to ask her fellow ‘toms’ for hand now and then. She’s not perfect. But who is?

 

Marc – Love him. Why couldn’t Faythe?! GODDAMN IT! It took six books to reach a conclusion between these two that I could accept. And I suppose that’s the goal of a good series eh?

Father/Daughter relationship – I so got this. My dad is, and always will be, my hero. But there is always going to be those shaky moments where you realise that he’s only human after all, or those times where his disappointment in you breaks your heart. Or.. the inevitable happens.. because most children will outlive their parents. And that’s a lot to have to come to terms with! Especially for a woman emerging as an adult proper, you know? Yeah, I was totally digging their relationship. It was real. Claws and whiskers aside ;)

The Supernatural – I really appreciated how this wasn’t the main focus. I mean, yeah, it was. But what I mean is that it wasn’t a problem in the obvious sense. There was no BIG REVEAL SHOCK HORROR SHE’S NOT HUMAN chapter(s) which ushers in the WE’RE NOT THE SAME SPECIES BUT I LOVE YOU chapter(s). It was nice to have an absence of the overused. True? Also, werecats! This was such a fun and relatively unexplored facet of shifter supes, and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

THE FEELS – For those of you that haven’t really read many of my posts, let me tell you now, I don’t cry when I read books. Or watch films, for that matter. Bambi’s mother can suck it! xD ..seriously though, if I was of the watery persuasion, this series would have made me cry like a baby! I don’t want to give anything away.. but let’s just say, I was seriously moved, on more than one occasion.

A good end – I’m not sure this acutally exists because I’m always left feeling like I need more. I finished this series and was like ‘Ok, so now let’s have the next three books, yeah?’ Because it truly is a series that could keep going. Effortlessly. But the last pages of Alpha everything tied up nicely. I can say I was satisfied, but still hungry for me! (You hear me Ms Vincent?!)

-A random aside- I did notice that Faythe did a lot of ‘fingercombing’ her hair. Does that girl not own a hairbrush? Jeez. :p

__

I really wasn’t expecting to be so enamoured with these books. I was ready for a good read. Something that I would enjoy, but not be too fussed about. This series had me- it sunk its claws in and didn’t let go. It’s safe to say that I was obsessed. Sleep was no longer an option!

The worst part is.. I feel a little bereft. Like.. what now?

Has anyone else read these? What did you think?

3

Shaking Up My Bookshelf

Sometimes I worry I’m becoming too blinkered, that as much as I love <insert genre/author> I’m growing ignorant of what else might be out there.

My all time favourite, go-to kind of book is in the Paranormal Romance category, or Dark Fantasy, depending on what the priorities are within the narrative. Currently got the Shifters series on the go by Rachel Vincent. And I’ve just finished the Sookie Stackhouse series.

But I need to make sure I don’t just keep falling back on what I know I’ll like- else I’ll never discover anything new, and I won’t change or evolve as a reader. And, from a writing point of view, that’s important too. To keep finding new styles and new ways of doing things.

Reading a different genre doesn’t mean you have to write it. But it does show you how to approach something differently (and that includes those books that you didn’t like, because you learn what NOT to do).

So here’s some books I’ve bought to shake things up a bit, and why:

18690890

Paper Towns by John Green

-I’ve wanted to read a John Green book for a while now, but I’ve been reluctant to read the Fault in Our Stars because of the mega hype surrounding it. I’m stubborn like that. So I’ve picked Paper Towns instead.

7989047 (1)

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

YA is an age group I’ve always wanted to try and write for, but any effort has been a miserable feat of frustration and disaster. But then I thought- why do I always have a female protagonist? The answer is because I’ve not really read any YA/Teen fiction that had a boy as its main character. I’m rectifying that. And I’m enjoying it too! I think I might be one of those people that feels more comfortable writing as a boy… Weirdly..

18756982

Phenomenal X by Michelle A. Valentine

The cover. My god. *heart races* This is totally not my kind of book. At least, that’s what I would have said last year. But since reading ‘Stay’ and ‘Hold On’ by the wonderful Hilary Wynne, I’ve been trying to find something with a similar kind of vibe. And while I’m not sure it exists (her books were such a ‘fit’ for me, it’s one of those rare finds) I’m no longer ignoring books in the contemporary romance section. AND I’m also gently easing myself into the ‘erotica’ pool too. (Euw, ‘erotica pool’? Nice..)

17375956

Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde

Similar to above, really. But I was compelled to try this series after reading the mixed reviews. I’m always intrigued to read something when it’s had as many ‘I LOVE IT!’ reviews as ‘WTF is this?!’ Generally I tend to err on the ‘I LOVE IT!’ side in these cases.. So we’ll see! And I’m a sucker for a biker..

5

On Sex and Violence

I was listening to Radio 2 today, and there was an author talking (sorry! I didn’t catch who you were Mr Author Man!!) and he made a really good point. I’m going to elaborate on it here:

So, I write about a range of things and put my characters in extremes of scenarios. Like many writers, I want to really push my characters to the edge, make them uncomfortable and see what happens.

If I write a scene depicting something graphically violent, like, I dunno, my character breaks someones fingers one at a time, then slowly inserts a metal barbecue skewer into their abdomen, and, after this person passes out, begins to slowly peel their skin off with a potato peeler, flaying them alive..

..no one would necessarily assume that this is something I have first hand experience doing. Right? I mean, you can read a crime novel, or a horror story, and experience some horribly gruesome things, but you don’t then think ‘holy moly, this author has had a terrifying life!’

Why then, when I place my character in a highly sexual situation- and I’m talking nitty gritty nasty details. Balls and all! – is it more generally assumed that this has come from a personal experience? ‘Oh yeah, this author is a dirty bitch!’ Yeah, ok. I might have a plethora of smut going on in my imagination (who doesn’t?) but that doesn’t mean that I have personally had a sexual experience to make a porn star blush.

I’m not speculating here, I’ve witnessed it happen. It’s happened to my very own manuscript! The more violent parts overlooked, because that’s a product of imagination, right? But then the more sexualised moments are subject to question.

It’s all part of the human experience called ‘life’. It’s out there. Dodgy sex, dodgy motives, dodgy dudes with dodgy weapons keen on tryin ‘em out in dodgy ways.. but that doesn’t mean I’ve had first contact with it!

Am I making sense? Has anyone else experienced/thought about this?

Why are we (generally) more accepting of gratuitous violence than of full-on sex?

Why is an erotica novel generally considered lower on the ladder than a violent crime novel?

Why are we ok with murder, but not with the most natural instinct to pass on our DNA?

So many questions..

 

6

On completing the Sookie Stackhouse series

12106940

 

Potential spoiler alert- But y’all have read this by now, right?

 

I’ve been putting off finishing this series for a while now. I purchased both ‘Deadlocked’ and ‘Dead Ever After’ when the hardback came out of the latter last May. But there’s something about reading the Bon Temps crew that feels better in the Summer. Aaand, last Summer was quite busy! What with prepping for my dissertation at uni etc.

So, finally, I got around to it.

‘Deadlocked’ (#12) was a good ‘un. There were some parts that made me think ‘ooh err, how’s that gonna come right again?’ but I wasn’t too worried because that’s what the last book was for, right? To tie up all the loose ends.

Let me just say I am well aware of the backlash Charlaine Harris received for the final instalment of this series. So let me also add that I think she’s such an accomplished and inspirational author- to keep a series (multiple series’ in fact) going for so long, that takes series skill and talent!

‘Dead Ever After’ disappointed me. 

That’s all I felt after I read the last page. Sever disappointment and dissatisfaction. It’s maddening because I can understand why Sookie ended up with who she did- but I felt it was handled in very rushed and clumsy way. There was something really odd about the last couple of chapters, the writing style changed, or at least felt different.

Sure, Sookie’s stories are no strangers to a little dirt and edginess.. But.. I felt blind sided by the sudden ‘dick shaft hole harder condom’ business. Wha? Where did that come from? I’m no prude! I love me some all-out sex in a book, but the language was totally off compared to what had come before it (and the book before it, even).

Who do I think Sookie should have had her HEA with? Well, there are a number of options.

Eric – Didn’t we all want this? Again, I actually understood why this just couldn’t happen, but I was still harbouring a cute fantasy about Eric throwing out that interloper Freyda and giving Sook a great white wedding (in the dark) in the back yard… Too much? Well.. a girl can dream.

Bill freakin’ Compton – This was logical. Right? Water under the bridge and all that jazz. And what happened to him anyway? Suddenly he’s a non-point in Sookie’s life. He’s just the photosensitive neighbour that nobody mentions anymore.

Alcide Herveaux – Totally down with this ‘ship right here. Let’s set sail on it!

Quinn – There’s no reason why this didn’t happen.. None. *shrugs*

Both Quinn and Alcide solve that little problem of ‘loving the light’ and blasts away the ‘I’m gonna grow old and die and you’ll stay the same’ issue.

Hoi. I dunno. I just wanted some big fireworks. Some great massive declaration of love…

Instead we get two people ‘settling’ for each other because the other options aren’t worth the risk. It’s safe. It’s sweet. And sure, it’s sexy… But just left me feeling really annoyed… Even though, really, I get it! I get it! Doesn’t mean I have to like it…

So yeah, anyone else finished this series yet? Had similar grumbles?

 

Aside
0

Just a quick note to say: I’M AN IDIOT!

 

Seriously.

I knew I was going to be AFK (away from keyboard) for a little while so I did what every clever blogger does- I scheduled all my content to go live while I was elsewhere.

Well hot damn. Not a single THING has been posted.

Why?

Because I set the date for JULY FREAKIN’ 2015.

What a pillock. Be back in black as of now.. Sowwy..